A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The litter smokers leave behind

Written January 21st, 2015 by Hasso Hering
Unlike the real thing, these remnants of coffin nails in the cemetery grass don't rust away.

Unlike the real thing, these remnants of coffin nails in the cemetery grass don’t rust away.

While the country is still reverberating with blather about the president’s State of the Union speech, let us turn to a much more mundane yet real phenomenon: the environmental pollution that was made worse when building owners everywhere decided to ban smoking indoors.

The trouble with cigarettes — one of the troubles anyway — is that they come with filters. And the trouble with filters is that they mislead smokers about the health consequences of puffing away. Another problem is that filters don’t disappear when they’re used up. They don’t burn and they don’t dissolve. Instead, they lie where smokers stepped on them after throwing them away.

Indoor smoking bans have been with us for years, decades in some cases. Everyone is familiar with the result, the sight of smokers taking their breaks outside the building, alone or in a huddle, in a patio with a roof if they’re lucky, on a drafty corner in the rain if they’re not. I buy Lasix (Furosemide), I read about generic Lasix at http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/lasix-furosemide-water-pills/ and this pills really help me.

Some employers, thinking themselves more progressive than others, banned tobacco use not just in their building but on their entire grounds. Samaritan Health is one of those. Its goal, understandable especially among health care providers, was to help its employees abandon their nasty smoking habit. But several years on, it has not worked, at least not completely.

Passersby often see people wearing Albany General badges or medical garb taking their breaks in the nearby entrance to Riverside Cemetery, having a smoke just a few steps outside the purview of their employer. Well, let them enjoy it while they still can. But let them smoke something that doesn’t leave filters littering the ground long after they’ve gone back to work. (hh)

5 responses to “The litter smokers leave behind”

  1. James Carrick says:

    “But let them smoke something that doesn’t leave filters littering the ground long after they’ve gone back to work.” hmmmmmm. Very fertile ground there, Hasso. I don’t think you meant unfiltered cigarettes, but I know better than to think you meant anything recently approved by the voters in Oregon as legal. Made me smile, anyway.

    However, it is amazing to me that someone hasn’t invented/developed a biodegradable, relatively harmless, cheap cigarette filter. Seems like a great way to make a few million fun tickets (dollars).

    I am a former smoker (almost 4 yrs now) and early in my smoking days, adopted the well known method of “field stripping” cigarette butts….after putting the cigarette out, crushing and rolling the remainder between the thumb and forefinger, and putting it in my pants pocket for later proper disposal. The Samaritan employees you observed could easily dispose of their field stripped in the nearest available trash can.

    Flinging old butts on the ground is not, and never was, “cool.” For the myriad of well known reasons, and more, than you cite.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    If the cigarette smokers (I am one) would just toss their butts in the street, next to the curb, at least the street sweeper would pick them up on occasion.
    It irks me when people toss their butts on the ground when there is a butt receptacle within a couple steps.
    It irks me more when non smokers use them for their candy wrappers etc. Any resulting fire gets blamed on the smoker.

  3. Roger says:

    The Oregon Legislature actually banned smoking indoors in 2008, businesses had no choice in the matter.

  4. Richard Vannice says:

    Throw them in the street and wait for the sweeper? Fine if it doesn’t rain first and wash them down the storm sewer into the river.


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